Most homeowners don’t think much about their air conditioner or furnace—until something goes wrong, that is. On the coldest nights of winter and the hottest days of summer, your home depends on its HVAC systems for indoor comfort. In this article, we’ll review the most common problems these systems encounter, their root causes, and what you can do to address issues with your cooling and heating systems.
Ready to learn even more about keeping your HVAC systems in tip-top shape? Check out the infographic from Reimer Home Services. They’re a team of professionals offering heating and cooling repair in Buffalo, NY.
Short cycling leads to energy waste and other problems
All air conditioners, heat pumps, and furnaces go through the same cycle: they turn on, run for an extended period of time to adjust the temperature inside of your home, and then turn themselves off once that set temperature has been reached. Just like a car, HVAC systems use the most energy at startup, and then less energy as the system continues running. If you hear your cooling or heating system constantly starting and stopping, it could be a sign of a serious problem.
This is known as “short cycling,” and it’s one of the most common HVAC issues. Short cycling wastes energy, puts more strain on components like the compressor, and ultimately leads to a less comfortable home. Short cycling (sometimes just referred to as “cycling”) can be caused by an incorrectly sized system, a clogged air filter that is blocking air intake, or a refrigerant leak.
If you’re noticing that your furnace or air conditioner starts, runs only for a few minutes, and then stops, it might be a good idea to have a professional technician out to your home to take a closer look.
Lost energy leads to higher utility bills
There’s a common misconception out there that new homes are as energy-efficient as they can be, and don’t require further improvements. While it is true that new builds generally are more efficient than homes built in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, that doesn’t mean they’re immune to energy waste. Most homes, in fact, could use additional attic insulation to better trap heat energy inside during the winter and keep that same energy out of the home in the summer.
If your home has central cooling and heating, your ducts might be part of the problem. Improper installation or damaged ductwork can easily leak valuable cooled or heated air into your attic, long before it even gets to the living spaces in your home. Over time, ducts can separate at their joints or develop cracks and pinholes. On average, the American home loses about 20-30% of their cooled and heated air passively through ducts. Duct problems can make this waste much more pronounced.
Take on energy waste directly by making efficiency upgrades to your home. Install additional insulation to prevent heat transfer through your attic. Add caulking around windows and weatherstripping around doors to reduce drafts. Finally, call a local HVAC professional in your area and ask about air duct sealing services—this can seal up duct leaks and drastically reduce energy waste.
Clean your air filter
It might seem simple, but your HVAC air filter plays an essential role in your home’s cooling and heating. The air filter simultaneously protects your HVAC system from dust, dirt, and other indoor air contaminants while also regulating airflow into the system. Without sufficient air intake, your cooling and heating systems just won’t work effectively or efficiently. Choked of enough airflow, the refrigeration process just cannot work properly, which could lead to a number of issues, including frozen coils.
If you have a reusable air filter, you should clean it by thoroughly washing it and removing built-up dust every three months. In the times of the year where you’re using your HVAC systems more frequently, clean it every month. This same basic schedule applies to replaceable air filters.
Prevent future problems by taking care of your HVAC systems
Professional tune-ups are the key to keeping your air conditioner and furnace running right throughout the year. True to its name, preventative maintenance makes major cooling and heating problems a lot less likely, sparing you the high costs and major headaches that come with repairs. Plus, tune-ups can improve your system’s efficiency and even extend its overall lifespan. We recommend you call your locally trusted HVAC services team to schedule two tune-ups: one in the spring for your air conditioner, and another in the fall for your furnace.